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WDAY: The News Leader

Published December 15, 2011, 10:06 AM

Man convicted of murder wins part of appeal

FARGO - A man convicted in a Fargo murder 20 years ago has won part of his appeal to the North Dakota Supreme Court. Reginald Tweed was convicted in October 1991 of murdering Terry Dorff.

By: Mike Nowatzki, INFORUM

FARGO - A man convicted in a Fargo murder 20 years ago has won part of his appeal to the North Dakota Supreme Court.

Reginald Tweed was convicted in October 1991 of murdering Terry Dorff.

Dorff, Tweed and David Sumner were drinking in Dorff's apartment when the two men assaulted him.

Tweed testified that he hit Dorff in the head with a 17-pound rock, but he claimed Dorff was still alive when he left the room.

Sumner also was charged with murdering Dorff, but a jury acquitted him after Tweed refused to testify against him.

Tweed twice filed a lawsuit for post-conviction relief, asking District Court Judge Frank Racek to grant him a new trial or to vacate his conviction. He was denied both times.

In an opinion filed Tuesday, the Supreme Court concluded that Racek properly dismissed Tweed's claims of new evidence, ineffective trial counsel and prosecutorial misconduct.

However, the high court said Racek erred in dismissing Tweed's claim that his post-conviction counsel was ineffective. In the opinion, the justices said, "It may have been possible for Tweed to prove a claim for which relief could be granted."

Justices reversed that portion of Racek's decision and sent the matter back to district court. It allows the ineffective counsel claim to continue in litigation.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Mike Nowatzki at (701) 241-5528

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